Greece starts firing civil servants for first time in a century

Saturday, April 27, 2013
By Paul Martin

The Greek government began its first mass-firing of public-sector workers in more than 100 years this week, part of an effort to lay off 180,000 by 2015 under Europe-imposed austerity.

By Nikolia Apostolou
CSMonitor.com
April 26, 2013

Pushed by its European creditors amid its crippling economic crisis, Greece began this week to do something it hasn’t done in more than 100 years: fire public-sector workers en masse.

Following weeks of tough negotiations with its lenders – the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the European Central Bank – the Greek government started laying off public-sector workers in an effort to implement the austerity that the troika has demanded. The first two civil servants were let go on Wednesday under a new law that speeds up the process – one, a policeman, for stealing debit cards, and the other for 110 days of unexcused absence.

The mass layoffs were announced last week in a televised address by the Greek prime minister himself, Antonis Samaras. Despite the massive unemployment in Greece, the goal of the government has become the laying off of 180,000 civil servants by 2015. “This is not a human sacrifice,” said Prime Minister Samaras. “It’s an upgrading of the public sector and it’s one demand of Greek society.”

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